When is it Most Beneficial to Give Gifts to Loyal Customers?

 

According to Forrester Research, it costs five times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep your existing ones. Given this data, it’s extremely practical that you’d want to keep your current customers as happy as possible to leverage your existing buyers. A great way to create loyalty between your customers and your brand is making sure they feel appreciated, this could be in the form of thank you notes and even personal gifts.

Not only is it advantageous to recognize already established customers; but going above and beyond for a new client could mean the difference between them remembering you the next time they are shopping, and them going elsewhere. By giving a small token item, there are plenty of opportunities for your business to stand out and remain top of mind throughout the year.

 

Celebrate Their Personal Milestones or Life Moments

If you sell to customers directly or over the phone, it’s a great idea to take notes about your customers when possible. Did they mention an upcoming anniversary, kid’s birthday, or retirement?

Make a note to send them a gift at this ever-important time, and you will likely have a customer for life. Some of their closest friends might even forget to send something ‒ can you imagine how appreciative they’ll be that you remembered?

Many companies fail to recognize or keep up with their customers lives outside of the business realm. Yet, we are all human and appreciate when people go the extra mile to make us feel special. The key to this strategy is making sure it comes off as a genuine thank you, and not something that’s automated, like much of today’s world.

“If I or my employees had come off as phonies or schmoozers, my company would not be what it is today,” says entrepreneur and social media mogul, Gary Vaynerchuk. “You cannot underestimate people’s ability to spot a soulless, bureaucratic tactic a million miles away. Engagement has to be heartfelt, or it won’t work.”

How can you make these engagements authentic? Take some of the top-performing real estate agents, who send flowers or fruit baskets to their clients on the day they move into their new homes. If your client is an accountant, you could send a basket filled with coffee and accompanying supplies to help them during tax season ‒ when they likely need it most. By getting creative, you can show your customers you are actively thinking of them, instead of inundating their inbox with another coupon or flash discount.

 

Gifts at the Time of Purchase

One of the more obvious yet overlooked opportunities to impress a customer is immediately after they purchase from you, or shortly thereafter. Even consumers agree, with 48% saying that the most critical time to gain them as a loyal customer is around the time they make their first purchase.

This is a great time to break out the pen and paper and write a handwritten note thanking them for choosing you, and offering 15% off their next purchase. Printing these out on a computer does not have the same effect as the human touch does, and shows that you’re not really spending much additional time on them.

If your budget allows, you should also be sending a small gift with this thank you note, such as a box of cookies or even something related to the type of service you provide. After all, these people trusted you enough to buy something from you, the least you can do is take the opportunity to prove that they made the right decision.

 

Take Advantage of Holidays

While it may be a more common gesture, the holiday season is as good a time as any to send your customers gifts. For Thanksgiving, you can send a recipe relevant to your industry, offerings, or geographic location; perhaps with a few “starter ingredients” they can make and share with their family.

During December, send a gift that will help them transition smoothly into the new year, such as a new planner or a tool to help with productivity. Sending small gifts during the holidays are a nice way to show how much you appreciate them and look forward to working with them in the future.

Aside from Christmastime, there are plenty of unofficial holidays, weeks, and months during which specific celebrations, professions, and issues are recognized. Check out our events calendar to see what other holidays your business may closely align with.

 

Gift-Giving from Employees

If you manage a team of front-line staff, another great option is to give employees a monthly stipend they can use to reward a few select customers each month. After all, they are the ones communicating directly with the clients. These staff members will know enough about each of their clients to be able to send them a personalized, thought out gift.

Thank you notes don’t have to be sent via email or snail mail. Consider posting a customer of the month story on your website and feature their business. You might profile them on social media. Even a simple phone call to check in and see how they are enjoying your product can go a long way.

Show your customers you were thinking about them in a way that reads authentic, and they are more likely to return the favor when recommending products or services to their friends.

 

Sources:

http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Web-Exclusives/Viewpoints/Listen-to-the-Voice-of-the-Customer-53239.aspx

http://web.clickfox.com/2012SurveyResults-BrandLoyalty.html

http://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/225025

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